Neymar has praised Cristiano Ronaldo for kickstarting the Saudi Pro League’s incredible metamorphosis, and the Brazilian striker has stated that he is tremendously determined to produce success for Al Hilal.
Neymar, 31, completed a spectacular deal from Paris Saint-Germain to Al Hilal earlier this week, shattering the Saudi Pro League (SPL) transfer record and becoming the kingdom’s latest high-profile player to arrive during an unparalleled summer transfer window.
Brazil’s captain joins Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, World Cup winner N’Golo Kante, Manchester City treble winner Riyad Mahrez, and former Liverpool quintet Jordan Henderson, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Fabinho in joining the Saudi Pro League this summer.
Which Saudi Pro League team did Neymar join?
Neymar joins Al Hilal team that has made some fantastic acquisitions.
Former Chelsea and Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, as well as former Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, will be Neymar’s teammates.
Ronaldo, on the other hand, appears to have cleared the way when he joined Al Nassr in December last year, while the involvement of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in the league’s four biggest clubs has enabled this revolutionary summer to take place.
“I believe Cristiano Ronaldo started all of this and everybody called him ‘crazy’, and this and that. Today you see the league grow more and more,” Neymar said in his first interview since joining Al Hilal, adding that he’s excited to take on the Portuguese superstar and the rest of the big players in the league.
“It is exciting, meeting top quality players on the other teams thrills you, and motivates you to play even better,” he said. “And it is a given when you face Ronaldo, Benzema, Firmino, that the excitement is even greater. So I am happy to join this league, facing them will be wonderful, it will be fantastic.”
Neymar, who has signed a two-year contract with Al Hilal, undoubtedly adds even more star power to the SPL, bringing with him one of the most illustrious records in world football, including 22 major club trophies for Santos, Barcelona, and PSG, including seven league titles, the Uefa Champions League, and the Copa Libertadores.
“The league will be very competitive, especially after the signings made
in the summer transfer window,” he said. “I believe competitiveness is important. That’s why I am joining this league. I am driven by challenges. I am there to help the league grow.”
Neymar is used to playing with some of the most brilliant players in the world, and he acknowledged that the group was a major part of his decision to join Al Hilal.
“I think it is very important to have quality in the squad,” he said. “Obviously it helps in some decisions you take throughout your career. It was certainly for me. I am very excited to write a new story chasing all the objectives with the club and my teammates – winning more and more titles and fulfilling the club’s ambition. I am very excited in that regard.”
Neymar has not played a competitive match since March due to a long-term ankle ailment that necessitated surgery. He did, however, take part in some of PSG’s pre-season training as the Brazilian looks to regain fitness, and he expects that both he and Al Hilal will improve as the season develops.
“It is a step-by-step process, training session after training session, game after game. We will grow more and more,” he said. “It is difficult to come and say ‘we are going to win’ before starting our work. That’s what I believe. To start work immediately, our objective is to win championships, win titles and surely reach the highest summit. It’s the fans aspiration, so that’s what we are aiming for.”
Neymar is not just the latest Brazilian to join the SPL this summer, but he also maintains an excellent heritage of Brazilian players representing Al Hilal, including 1970 World Cup winner Rivellino. More than 30 Brazilian players have since played for the Riyadh club.
“Of course a lot of Brazil will be watching the league,” Neymar said. “Obviously I will be there and I expect all Brazilians and everybody following league to support Al Hilal! The message I have for them is I will do my best to make them enjoy football, our goal is winning all titles.”